Fiction

Book Review: It’s Not All Downhill From Here by Terry McMillan

 

It's Not All Downhill From Here by Terry McMillan: 9781984823748 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

“That it is still important to keep improving our lives, even at our age, and we should treat ourselves better and stop acting like our best years are behind us”

Loretha is about to be 68 and by all accounts, has a great life. She is in a happy marriage, has a group of friends she can count on and is financially stable thanks to her businesses and joint property she owns with her husband. While her life is great, it is not perfect as she has a strained relationship with her daughter who is an alcoholic and with her twin sister who sees her as competition.

When Lo, as her friends and family call her, suffers a huge loss, her life is turned upside down and she finds herself having to re-calibrate and realize that her life isn’t over and she would have to make the best out of the rest of her years.

I have this loyalty to Terry McMillan. I have fond memories of her earlier books. They were unapologetically black and dealt with adult issues. But lately, her recent books just haven’t hit my literary spot and this includes this book.

I appreciate McMillan writing about an older generation because society tends to treat them as invisible. But besides that there was not much that I liked about the book. While I kept turning the pages, I kept trying to pin point what was not working about this book and it came to me that it was outdated. McMillan writes exactly how you would imagine she talks to her friends in person.

For example, she uses the term “hussy” a lot (slang term like hoe or bitch used in a friendly way). For a seasoned writer it’s surprising that she sounds amateurish on this. Another example was an African hairdresser who she described as “could be Lupita Nyong’o’s twin, had a shaved head, always wore African beads and went barefoot”. I mean…could we be any more cliche?

I didn’t particularly like any of the characters but Lo made me want to pull my hair out. She seemed like one of those people whose worth is tied to being able to provide for people. Through out the entire book, I can’t count how much she gave to a lot of the characters that popped up along the way. And not just a few dollars here and there. Things like cars, houses, free rental apartments in her buildings. It really annoyed me because I couldn’t tell if she couldn’t tell she was being used or she just enjoyed it.

On the flip side, I am trying to remember books I have read that had older subject matters to make sure what I am calling outdated isn’t just a generational disconnect, where I am not the audience. I will say though, that the issues that were tackled in the book where real life issues such as health, death, abuse, mental illness.

Once again, I am always here for content that recognizes older people because just because they are old doesn’t mean that they should be treated as dead. A lot of older people still lead full lives and want to make the best of their time especially with the lice experiences acquired, so I have no issues with the characters being older.

This book got 2 stars from me. It was just not well written and not the most compelling. If you are looking to have a mindless read just as a filler, it may work but if you would like a fulfilled reading experience, I am not sure this will meet that need.

Taynement

 

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